Updated: November 5, 2014 7:50:45 pm
Earlier this week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reiterated its earlier warnings on global warming, saying there was now “unequivocal” evidence that global temperature was rising, leading to “unprecedented” changes in climate systems. The IPCC report said the period from 1983 to 2012 was probably the warmest 30-year period in the last 1400 years.
Though data for that long is not available in India, a consistent rise in temperature is being observed in the surface temperature over the country, in conformity with the global trend. The opening decade of the 21st century was the warmest decade in the last 110 years at least. The mean temperature, averaged over the entire country, between 2000-2010 was almost 1 degree Celsius higher than that between 1901-1910. Eight of the ten warmest years since 1900 have also been recorded in this decade.
This is very similar to the rise in average global temperatures which increased by about 0.85 degrees between 1880 and 2012, according to the latest IPCC report. The IPCC says the world must limit the rise in global temperatures to within 2 degree Celsius, as compared to 1850 levels, to avoid “catastrophic” effects.
According to the data kept by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, the rate of increase in mean temperatures over India in the last three decades has been relatively higher than in the previous decades.
The maximum and minimum temperatures, averaged over the country as a whole, have also been showing an increasing trend. The average maximum temperature in the decade 2000-1010 was 1.27 degree higher than that in the decade 1901-1910. The corresponding difference in the average minimum temperature was relatively less at 0.54 degree Celsius.
The warming is projected to have wide-ranging impacts in the subcontinent. Food production is likely to be affected, water availability might go down, sea-levels are expected to rise, and the frequency of extreme events like floods, squalls, prolonged and excessive rainfall, and droughts is likely to increase.
Recently, a scientific study published in the journal of American Meteorological Society suggested that last year’s Uttarakhand floods could be directly linked to climate change. It was probably the first time that any individual weather event in India was attributed to climate change.
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